The Department of Labor (DOL), more specifically its statistical agency the Bureau of Labor of Statistics (BLS), has responded to an October letter signed by 30 members of Congress, which ANCOR and its members advocated for and led. The Congressional letter is part of a broader ANCOR strategy to strengthen the workforce and asked BLS to create a standard occupational classification (SOC) for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). The goal of this effort is to gather key data on workforce trends, etc. specific to DSPs to inform policy-makers and providers’ planning.
While ANCOR is disappointed in the BLS response, which invites Congress to re-submit this question when the SOC is next reconsidered in ten years (2028), it is important to note stress that just because BLS has not yet accepted to create a SOC, does not mean that we cannot meet our objective of obtaining DSP-specific workforce data. DSP data is in fact already being collected by BLS, but it is currently being put in the same category as Home Health Aides (HHAs) and Personal Care Attendants (PCAs), and as such it is not being published separately. A SOC would have created a DSP-specific “bucket” which would have led to DSP-specific data being published in a permanent and consistent manner every year. Our work is far from done here - ANCOR will continue to explore legislative and agency solutions to this issue and keep members informed of future developments and opportunities for action.
In the meantime, we encourage ANCOR members and their DSP staff to share the continued importance of this issue with the Department of Labor through this petition sponsored by the National Association for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP). Please also thank your member of Congress if they were signed onto the letter and notify them that our goal is to still achieve a SOC and we appreciate their support along the way. For Hill contacts, please contact email@example.com